FCB Nyasa Big Bullets Women have finished off the FAM Women’s National Championship group phase unbeaten following a 7-1 thrashing of Topik at Mzuzu Stadium on Saturday.
The triumph away in the North means our women’s team have reached the semi-finals unbeaten, topping their group with 12 points from four wins.
Maggie Chombo’s ladies went into the match having already qualified for the last four but had to guard their unbeaten run in the regional and national championships.
Maule ladies’ current top scorer Vanessa Chikupila, who netted six on the afternoon, found herself in the goal area in as early as nine minutes, unfortunately, she had to watch her hard-earned chance sliding wide.
But the determined wing forward finally broke the deadlock a minute later when her magnificent strike opened the day’s scoring.
It was certainly not looking good for the hosts as two minutes after the quarter-hour mark Chikupila successfully registered her brace from the spot after midfielder Pililani Malora was tripped inside the area by Grace Chiumia.
Twenty minutes into the match, Fauzah Mohammad should have registered her name on the score sheet, however, her effort went flying over the crossbar following Chikupila’s penetrating pass to Malora, who released Mohammad only for her to strike off-target.
The hosts pulled one back in the 28th minute through Chiumia, who managed to slide through our overwhelmed defence and caught our ‘keeper Thoko Mwase off guard.
Zainab Kapanda made it 1-3 five minutes after the half-hour mark after connecting well Mohammad’s pass.
Chikupila continued her scoring two minutes later when she again found herself in the goal area to bag her first hat trick of the day.
The Bullets number 13 managed to beat the home goalkeeper Yamikani Kawonga twice in three minutes.
Three minutes away from the recess, our defender Bernadette Mkandawile was issued a yellow card over a rough tackle.
Chikupila and Kapanda starred in the first half and Maule finished the opening period 1-5.
Chombo made her first permutations in the 57th minute when she introduced Anne van Els and Caroline Majamanda to have a taste of the ongoing trashing, replacing Kapanda and Mkandawile in the 57th minute.
The hosts had a chance two minutes after the hour through their number 11 Tionge Chirwa, whose attempt to beat our ‘keeper, fortunately for our ladies, her strike ended further from the goal post.
Chikupila nearly opened the second half’s scoring in the 67th minute as she dribbled past five opponents only for her run to be stopped by the goalkeeper’s catch.
Chikupila finishes the group stage with 10 goals
But the pacey forward could not be stopped further as she finally netted a beautiful strike in the next minute when she pounced just outside the goal area.
Our number 13 was eminent as she set her sixth and the closing goal of the day with ten minutes left and she caught the hosts by surprise with a stunning 30-metre drive to make it 1-7 and score her tenth goal of the group stages.
Lyna James nearly had her name on the scoresheet at the stroke of 90 but her attempt landed straight in Kawonga’s palms.
Three more minutes were added to the clock and Chombo had to replace Mohammad for Mary Chavinda over an injury.
Despite registering seven goals, Bullets Women were still eager for more and Van Els should have struck from a free kick in the closing minute but her attempt was stopped by Kawonga.
Triumphantly topping Group A with 12 points, Bullets Women have scored 15 goals from four games in the group stages.
Our ladies opened the group phase with a 1-0 win over Destiny Academy at home, before beating DD Sunshine (Silver Strikers Women) 1-2 away in Lilongwe. They trumped visiting CY Sisters 4-0 at Mpira Stadium last week before heading up North for their 1-7 thrashing of Topik.
What the coach said
Chombo spoke to the club media following the win and was happy that her girls played well in their quest to defend the national championship despite the muddy pitch and the inconsistent weather.
“We are heading to the semi-finals and I am sure we will deliver exactly what’s expected. Indeed, we missed a lot of chances, but that’s a normal thing, what matters is that the girls are now utilizing the scoring opportunities. We will fix the few mistakes I noticed when we go back to training”.